AIDS In The Black Community

1055 Words5 Pages
In the mid-1980s all the way through the 1990s, the United States was plagued with an epidemic and the fears that came along with this, after severely infected areas like New York City were forced to recognize AIDS as a rapidly spreading disease. AIDS is mostly a sexually transmitted virus that attacks white blood cells and weakens the body’s ability to fight off infections, and if left untreated, can result in death. This virus was most identified as claiming more lives of black, male homosexuals, than any other populated group in the U.S at this time, and therefore AIDS was considered a “gay disease” that left this group stigmatized and loathed by an already racist and homophobic society. The term “living with AIDS” began to be utilized when…show more content…
The church instead believed that AIDS was a punishment for those living sinful lives, and because the church was so powerful and prominent within the black community, this only increased the lives affected by AIDS, as it continued to affect the lives of those living and not living with AIDS within the church, individually, collectively, and institutionally. The AIDS epidemic that dramatically forced its way within the black community, considered “this generation’s war,” was the modern day enslavement and massacre that replicated the slave trade during the 1800s that also claimed the lives of thousands of black bodies, Ronald Jeffrey Weatherford and Carole Boston Weatherford discuss in Somebody’s Knocking at Your Door: Aids and the African-American Church (7). Because these communities were denied inclusion within white dominated spaces of society, they heavily relied on their religious communities to provide this under the safe confinements of the church amongst their own people. The black churches were therefore, very protective in maintaining this exclusive union, which explains why they refused to confront…show more content…
This was simply because they believed that this was punishment for the sinners who defied God, despite the Bible’s claims to care for the sick and the poor. This condemnation stemmed from “God 's judgment on homosexuals and IV drug abusers,” which provided relief, justification, and less energy, time and resources, than directly combatting AIDS and all of its atrocities (McCarthy 167). Not only was the church was shunning these ostracized individuals away, but housing, job, educational, medical, and organizational discrimination also increased and these institutional intersecting dynamics placed more stressful strains on this community that already experiences high rates of these sufferings. The church’s emphasis on “fragility of life, the meaning of death, the human need for intimacy, the centrality of sex in personhood, the consequences of human behavior, the choice of lifestyle, respect for the privacy and integrity of others, the power of food example and the support of community” are not seen as applicable when interacting with those living with AIDS because their ideas of how AIDS is contacted also do not align
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